Friday, 15 December 2017

Surveyor's not fazed by lofty subject for debate

Surveyor's not fazed by lofty subject for debate

IT’S a question not many people automatically know the answer to — do I need planning permission to convert my loft into living space?

Standard Property spoke to Romans’ director of surveyors, Dan Lowery, to see what he had to say about it.

“The answer is no, you do not normally need to apply for planning permission to convert a loft into living space,” he said. Phew!

It turns out a loft conversion is one of the more straightforward and cost-effective methods of providing extra space in a home — and quite a large number of houses can utilise this type of extension.

However, there are of course exceptions, and Dan highlights the following pointers for when planning permission for a loft conversion is needed:

• The property is a terraced house and the extension exceeds 40m3

• The property is semi-detached or detached and the extension exceeds 50m3

• The property is located in a heritage and/or conservation area (there is quite a lot of that in Henley, for instance)

• You are altering the roof height or shape.

If in doubt, it’s a good idea to check with your local planning authority to avoid any pitfalls.

But Dan notes that there is one thing you will always have to get.

“You will always need to obtain building regulations consents and associated completion certificates for a loft conversion,” says Dan.

“This consent confirms that the technical aspects of the work are compliant with the Building Act 1984 and is an important factor in protecting the future resale value of the property.”

Ah! So no to planning permission but yes to building regulations.

“Yes,” says Dan. “It should be recognised that the building regulations provide good technical standards of performance that the building work should conform to. But this does not necessarily mean that the finished product will be of good quality as a whole.

“It is beneficial to consider obtaining professional assistance from a qualified and experienced design and construction professional to monitor the quality of the loft conversion and manage any unforeseen issues that arise.”

What’s more, if your home is semi-detached or terraced and you are building in beams which will bear on the party wall(s) or are raising the height of the party wall(s) to form a dormer roof, you must follow the requirements of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 and obtain your neighbours’ agreement to the works or arrange for party wall awards to be prepared and served before the work commences.

The government has published a full technical guide for homeowners online at www.legislation.gov.uk.

Dan adds: “If you would like to understand more about planning, get in touch with Romans Surveyors on 0333 1220 961.”

If you’re thinking about a loft conversion or extension, take a look at this week’s Homes Weekly front page story for inspiration.

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